News / USA

Tensions Flare During White House Debt Talks

US President Barack Obama (C) conducts a meeting with congressional leadership on deficit reduction in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, July 13, 2011
US President Barack Obama (C) conducts a meeting with congressional leadership on deficit reduction in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, July 13, 2011

President Barack Obama and eight Republican and Democratic congressional leaders hold a fifth round of negotiations on Thursday at the White House aimed at achieving a deficit reduction and debt compromise. Talks on Wednesday ended with a tense confrontation between Obama and a key Republican lawmaker.

What happened?

Though the White House did not comment, and accounts by Democratic and Republican aides and a key Republican lawmaker differ, all indicate that the nearly two hour meeting was the most contentious to date, as all sides face increasing pressure to find a solution to the debt impasse.

As Republican aides told it, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor himself was quoted as saying to reporters, Obama abruptly walked out at the end of the meeting following a tense exchange over how to resolve the deficit and debt impasse.

Democratic congressional sources disputed that, saying Obama spoke in frustration about political posturing and lack of compromise, but simply ended the meeting.

Whatever did occur underscores the high stakes in the negotiations to come up with a compromise that can avert a federal government debt default on August 2. The tense exchanges also came as a major financial rating firm, Moody’s, warned that the the U.S. credit rating was on watch for possible downgrade.

McConnell proposal

Earlier, White House spokesman Jay Carney addressed a proposal by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for a procedurally-complex legislative tactic that would have essentially transferred authority, and political responsibility, for raising the debt ceiling from Congress to the president.

McConnell proposed passing legislation to allow Obama to raise the debt limit in three stages by $2.5 trillion, through the 2012 presidential election year, but requiring the president to list spending cuts at least as high as increases in the debt ceiling.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (File Photo)
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (File Photo)

Carney called the proposal an acknowledgment by Republicans that there is no alternative to raising the debt limit. He did not reject it outright but said Obama remained focused on achieving the largest possible deficit reduction deal.

"The linkage that was created that tied significant deficit reduction to this deadline, was so that we could work together, roll up our sleeves and do this," said Carney. " Well the president is ready and willing to do that, he is willing to make compromises, he is willing to go big here."

McConnell spoke on the Senate floor before he and other lawmakers went to the White House for their fourth round of talks with Obama.

"Americans don't want tax hikes, they don't want phony spending cuts, they don't want a debt disapproval plan, and they don't want us to default on our debts," he said. "They want real cuts, and real reform, now."

In a CBS News television interview Tuesday, the president responded to McConnell's statement that a solution to the nation's deficit spending problems was unobtainable with Obama in the White House.

"You know, Mr. McConnell said, I think the day I was elected, that his job was to try to see me beat.  I think what the American people are looking for is not that kind of partisan politics," Obama said.

Worst case scenario

In this photo provided by CBS News, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner talks about the debt crisis on CBS's 'Face the Nation' in Washington, July 10, 2011
In this photo provided by CBS News, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner talks about the debt crisis on CBS's 'Face the Nation' in Washington, July 10, 2011

White House negotiations have included Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who has warned of the dire consequences of a debt default on August 2. Geithner will meet with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden before a fifth round of talks with lawmakers on Thursday.

In testimony to a congressional committee on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said a default would have wide-ranging impacts.

"Clearly if we went so far as to default on the debt it would be a major crisis," Bernanke said.

White House spokesman Carney was asked on Wednesday if Obama would rule out a very short stop gap measure, if negotiators were on the edge of a larger compromise  Carney responded that  the president believes there is momentum toward achieving a significant balanced deficit reduction package.

As he presses his case for a large deficit solution coupled with a debt ceiling agreement, Obama will give interviews on Thursday to major media market television stations, just two hours before Republican and Democratic lawmakers return for what could be a crucial round of talks.




You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid